Thursday, 3 November 2011

Musical Fidelity M1 ViNL



Now folks, been running the COncept TT through the ViNL for about 8 hours now over 2 days. And my first minute impression of the unit just got better and better.

People might feel that I went over the top with the remark of the missing link in my TT venture but this piece of kit really did gave the BIGGEST improvement compared to when I upgraded my CDP, Amp and speakers. Value for money it is indeed. Especially for someone whom have been facing lows and highs of using TT for the past few months.

Built

As the thread title suggest, it came in the increasingly popular shoebox black ash casing, similar to the other M1 series of CLiC, CDT, DAC and HPA. Relatively lightweight at 3.5 KG unboxed. Nicely finished with the normal 3 pin power cord, another feature that is always good in my book. I dont really like equipments that comes with those 9 Volts plug.

The display window is the similar light blue screen similar to CDT. It is easily legible from about 6 ft away.

The soft buttons for Power/Standby and the list of options between MC and MM and the response curve are very responsive and well laid across the front fascia.

Input/Output

1. 1 pair of RCA MM input

2. 1 pair of RCA MC input

3. 1 pair of RCA output

4. 1 pair of balanced XLR output

5. 1 trigger input

6. 1 trigger output

7. Earth connection

I particularly like the feature of having the XLR output but unfortunately I will not be able to use it as the only XLR input on my M6i amp is used by my M1 DAC. Bummer.

Features

This is the best. Well, at least for me as these features really gave me the biggest improvement. More importantly, I found that music signature that I long for from the TT. I do believe some of this impression I get is due to the fact that my ears are accustomed to MF signature.

1. MC Loading resistor selection

There are 10 options available to choose - 10,18, 25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 or 470000 R (ohms).

To be continued....breakfast time...hehehehe...sign off 7:23 am.

Sign in 3:15 pm: Whooooppsss breakfast turn to sending my boy to school turn to errands hahahaha.

Now back to hifi heavan.

With minimal knowledge, what I notice is that the higher the resistor value, the 'louder' the TT sounds. At a 10 o' clock volume on the amp, the TT sounds louder at 47k R and softer at 10R. After few hours of listening, it does not only do that but what it does (to my ears), smoothens some harshness on the high notes at 47K. Tried some 'noisy' LPs, and the harshness on some of them are reduced.

I find myself to like 47K R best for older LPs and 1600 R on new LPs.

For MC, capacitor is fixed at 470 pF.

If you know the resistor specs of your cartridge, its even easier as it is recommended to match the settingns to the specs.

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2. MM loading resistor selection

Two options available at 47K and 68K R

3. MM loading capacitor

Eight options available - 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350 and 400 picoFarad (pF)

For items 2 and 3, I have no chance to test it.

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4. RIAA and IEC

The choice to roll off the output at very low frequencies from the normal RIAA frequency response can be activated by choosing IEC.

On one of my old LPs that is very noisy, choosing IEC sounds much better as it reduces surface noise.

Listening Session

First went in was Diana Krall - Quiet Nights. First track was Walk on By. It sounded really different from my NAD phonostage. One thing for sure, the warm MF signature has been injected into the Concept TT. Very nice indeed. It gave me this chill to the spine. Diana's vocal extremely blends into the entire song.

Then went in my famous Black Dog Bone LP. It sounded less mechanical using ViNL. It took away some part of the 70's sound and gave it more life. Not sure whether thats what you want from your 70's LPs but it did took away a lot of background noise which then gives me a good clean sound with a touch of warmth.

OK, now those LPs have always been good to me eversince I got into TT. Now the greates challenge is those so called 45 RPM audiphiles LPs, namely Metallica.

So went on Ride the Lightning LP. First track on was From Whom the Bell Tolls.

Applying 47K R and IEC, thats when Metallica sounded better than the usual sound I hear using NAD. More liveliness to the overall dull and flat sound previously heard via NAD. At 10 R and RIAA, its not worth listening to.

Next track was Fade to Black. The guitar intro was superb on 47K R and IEC. The drums still sounded a bit flat but there was an improvement.

I am still not convinced with this audiphile grade claim on 45 RPM. But I am glad this ViNL injected some life into my 45 RPM LPs.

Is it that good?

To me, YES. Why? Maybe because I am a novice in LP. Maybe because my forehead has an MF stamp on it. But my ears surely like what they are hearing.

Now, how much did I coughed up for this unit? RM 0.....hehehehe. Not yet paid as I am demo-ing it first. But from the 2 days affair, I will be poorer by RM 3900 soon.

I heard soon also this unit will be reviewed by our resident newspaper columnist hehehe. So for more technical evaluation, watch out for it.

Unfortunately LTB Enterprise does not have an LP set up to test in his shop. So for those who are interested, is best to wait for official review in the papers.


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